Whether you work in directional drilling or well servicing, one of the most important pieces of equipment is the drill pipe.

Every horizontal directional drill operator must not only be knowledgeable about maintenance practices for HDD rigs, they should also know how to tell when it is time to replace the drill pipe on the rig. If you are noticing reduced performance from your drill string, there are some telltale signs that it may be time for a replacement.

It may be as simple as looking at your bolts and seeing if you have any bolts left, but there are other ways.

Here are eleven signs that your drill pipe needs to be replaced:

You Have a Bolt Left

If you have a bolt left after running your last string, it is likely time to replace your drill pipe. This means that the walls of the drill pipe are very thin, which was not the case when you first started drilling. At this point in time, if the operator did a good job maintaining the rig, he will probably be replacing the drill pipe soon.

The Drill Pipe is Dented All the Way Through

Dents are also one of the major signs that your drill pipe needs to be replaced. A dent in the wall of your pipe is not good because it will cause radial stress on both sides of that section, which can lead to a crack or fracture, ultimately causing the pipe to break.

The Drill Pipe is Wobbling

A wobble in your drill pipe can be an indication that you are wearing out the static side of your directional drill head if you have not replaced it recently. It may also indicate that there is a fracture or crack somewhere in the wall of your drill pipe.

Your Pipe Is Not Straight Anymore

If your directional drill pipe is not straight anymore, it definitely has reached the end of its life. Drill pipe must be perfectly straight in order to do its job effectively, so when there are cracks or deformities in the walls of the pipe, it makes it very hard for your operator to use it.

Corroded Pipe

If the exterior coating of your drill string is damaged, corrosion can enter the pipe. Corrosion causes stiffness in the pipe and makes it difficult to pull into the ground, which can result in a stuck pipe.

Drumming Noise While Drilling

If you hear a loud drumming noise when your drill is running, this could be caused by the interface between the drill pipe and the drill bit. The tight grip that’s necessary to create rotational force can cause damage to both of these pieces over time – especially if they’re not replaced when needed.

Excessive Oil Leakage

When there is excessive oil leakage in your horizontal directional drill, it could be a result of a damaged seal, which may mean replacing the drill pipe. This can also indicate that your rotary table is malfunctioning and needs to be repaired or replaced.

Frequent Drill Bit Changes

In many cases, maintenance personnel will notice that frequent drill bit changes are required if the pipe isn’t replaced as recommended. When a drill pipe begins to wear, it can actually damage the drill bit as well – leading to additional costs and time wasted on repairs.

Vibration From Machine

If you notice vibrations from your horizontal directional drilling equipment, this could be an indication that the rotary table is malfunctioning and needs to be repaired or replaced. It could also indicate that the drill wire needs to be changed, which would require an entire replacement of the pipe assembly.

Water Leakage Into Rotary Table

If water starts to leak into your machine’s rotary table, the seals may have deteriorated – which means it’s time for a replacement. At this point, it won’t be possible to complete the job efficiently because you will not have a watertight seal.

Excessive Wear On Bearings

If there is excessive wear on your horizontal directional drilling equipment’s bearings, this could mean that the drill pipe needs to be replaced or repaired immediately. Since this type of damage can cause additional problems with rotary speed and other important components, it should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.